Saturday, October 24
Milpitas, Tracy Lead Bay Area Population Growth
Demographics, Events

Milpitas, Tracy Lead Bay Area Population Growth

In a top 20 list dominated by cities in Texas and Arizona, the Bay Area’s Milpitas makes a brave showing at 15th in a new U.S. Census Bureau ranking of the fastest-growing incorporated places in the country with more than 50,000 people.  The new Milpitas Transit Center connects the city to the region. It is the only Bay Area city to appear within the fastest-growing cohort.  Situated to San Jose’s north and east, the town, whose name means “little cornfields” in Spanish, grew 5 percent from mid-2018 to the middle of last year, reaching not quite 85,000 residents. That's slightly less than its rate of growth in 2014-15, when Milpitas also made a Census Bureau list of fast-growing U.S. cities. Its most current rate of growth compares to a 12 percent growth rate for th...
Permanente Quarry: Life on the Rocks
Culture, Events

Permanente Quarry: Life on the Rocks

Financially beleaguered German mining company HeidelbergCement, owner of Silicon Valley's devastating Permanente Quarry, wants to expand and extend the mine's reclamation to 2060, after the company told county residents in 2012 that it would close the mine and reclaim the land by 2032. By Sharon Simonson SILICON VALLEY—Given that Santa Clara County Supervisors devoted fewer than ten minutes to the item, and considering that four of the five supervisors asked no questions, and understanding that the fifth’s questions were superficial and unrevealing—nothing about the unanimous vote during their virtual meeting on the afternoon of May 12 telegraphed significance. But for residents of Silicon Valley and the global German mining company HeidelbergCement, which owns the Permanente Quarry above...
Silicon Valley Home Girl
Culture, Demographics

Silicon Valley Home Girl

By Sharon Simonson Hometown. Homespun. Home run. Home cooking. Homecoming. Homestead. Homebound. Home girl. Phone home. Homeward. Homemade. Mi casa es su casa. Homey. Homeless. Is there home away from home? I’ve begun to clear the dust from behind the closed doors of my corona addled mind. I, like so many others, have gloried in the beauty of the spring, a beauty that people worldwide have viewed through vastly clearer air. You don’t have to be that thoughtful to see the unpleasant irony of such a vital display of re-birth amidst pandemic death. I’m going to make a prediction, though perhaps it is more fledgling hope: after three or four or however many months mostly in our homes, yards and neighborhoods, Americans are going to feel differently about caring for them. Yes, for some it wi...
Pew: Foreign Students Migrate to Bay Area
Demographics

Pew: Foreign Students Migrate to Bay Area

By Sharon Simonson Not wildfires, mudslides, or monster commutes; not overcrowded and expensive housing, or gender-challenged workplaces. Nothing—so far—can keep them away: foreign students seeking U.S. college degrees and work experience have flocked to the Bay Area in recent years—more than to any other place in the country except New York City. According to new research from the Pew Research Center based on more than a decade of student-visa data, the Silicon Valley and San Francisco metros rank among the top ten destinations for foreign students earning American university degrees and staying to work.  Including the more than 77,000 foreign students who migrated to the region for employment after earning degrees in other U.S. cities, the Bay Area attracted more than 120,000 foreig...
Rebirth in Silicon Valley
Culture, Demographics

Rebirth in Silicon Valley

By Sharon Simonson If Peter Thiel wants to leave Silicon Valley, I say, “Peter, bon voyage.” If you don’t know who Peter Thiel is, this story is for you. (Peter Thiel is a very rich Hollywood venture capitalist.) According to Peter, Silicon Valley is done. It has become an echo chamber talking itself into oblivion. Dear Universe, Peter Thiel and his ilk are distant satellites that orbit the real Earth that is Silicon Valley. HBO’s Silicon Valley and the myopic coverage of the national news media reinforce his tunnel vision. But technologists such as Mr. Thiel are not the majority. Life in Silicon Valley is much bigger, much richer, much more complex and interesting than Peter Thiel or the intricacies of Facebook, Google, and Apple. Okay, okay, it’s true: tech companies ...
New U.S. Census Bureau Data: Silicon Valley Population Barely Grew in 2017
Demographics

New U.S. Census Bureau Data: Silicon Valley Population Barely Grew in 2017

Alameda and San Francisco counties also are seeing slower population growth. Existing residents left the region at their highest levels in seven years in 2017. International in-migration is compensating for the departures. By Sharon Simonson Population growth has nearly stopped in Santa Clara County. According to 2017 population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week, the population of the Bay Area’s largest county, with not quite two million people, grew a scant 6,578 people in the year ended July 1. Current residents are leaving the county at their greatest numbers since 2011. More than 26,000 Santa Clara County residents moved to another U.S. county last year. That compares to the fewer than 3,000 residents who left for other U.S. counties in 2011. In t...
San José Pulitzer Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen: We Are What We Write
Culture, Demographics

San José Pulitzer Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen: We Are What We Write

By Sharon Simonson When seven-year-old Viet Thanh Nguyen arrived in San José with his parents and older brother in 1978 as a Vietnam War refugee, little did he know that his life’s next decade would form the basis of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel nearly forty years later. It was in the tiny downtown San José house at 759 S. 10th Street in the shadow of a freeway overpass that a robber would hold him and his parents at gunpoint when he was sixteen-years-old. It was in his parents’ New Saigon Mini Market on downtown San José’s East Santa Clara Street where his parents were shot one Christmas Eve. Thankfully, neither was injured seriously. “That ten-year period was marked by witnessing the intense sacrifice that my parents gave working as hard as they did in that store and experiencing...
Little Cesar Chavez Chapel in the Parking Lot
Culture, Demographics

Little Cesar Chavez Chapel in the Parking Lot

By Sharon Simonson Was this the right place? The National Historic Landmark dedicated a mere twelve months ago to Cesar Chavez, the most significant Latino leader in the United States in the twentieth century? Was this 2020 East San Antonio Street, San Jose, Silicon Valley? Was that the chapel building where the farm worker movement began? Where Chavez spent five early years, his spirit fired by Catholic faith and his mind by the community organizing talents of Saul Alinsky? Was that it, hemmed round by a trash-strewn parking lot in which desperate people had created huddled shelters? What the hell was going on? A bronze marker in front of the small tan building suggested it was the right place. I parked and got out. The little chapel, deconsecrated now and called McDonnell Hall, stoo...